Michigan Court of Appeals; Docket No. 249720; Published
Judges Meter, Wilder, and Fort Hood; unanimous
Official Michigan Reporter Citation: 272 Mich. App. 142, Link to Opinion
One-Year Back Rule Limitation [3145(1)]
Consumer Protection Act
In this unanimous published decision by Judge Meter, the Court of Appeals held that even though plaintiff was permitted to claim that defendant insurance company violated the Michigan Consumer Protection Act (MCPA), because she ultimately sought no-fault benefits that accrued more than one year before the date she filed this action, defendant was entitled to summary disposition.
The plaintiff in this case sustained serious injuries in an automobile accident which occurred in 1995. Initially, plaintiff’s care was provided by a professional agency. Later, her care was provided by family members. Defendant compensated the family members at the rate of $10 per hour. Eventually, defendant raised the rate to $11 per hour. Ultimately, the family incorporated as a health care agency in order to receive the higher rate paid to agencies. In 2001, plaintiff filed an action under the MCPA, arguing that defendant’s representations regarding the rate at which defendant compensated family members was false and constituted an unfair and deceptive practice. In an earlier decision, the Court of Appeals determined that defendant was entitled to summary disposition. In lieu of granting leave to appeal, the Supreme Court remanded the case for reconsideration in light of Smith v Globe Life Insurance Company, 460 Mich 446 (1999), where the Supreme Court held, “that MCLA 445.904(1) and (2) permit private actions against an insurer pursuant to MCL 445.911, because, prior to its amendment by 2000 PA 432, MCL 445.904(2) provided an exception to the exemption of MCL 445.904(1)(a) permitting private actions pursuant to MCL 445.911 arising out of misconduct made unlawful by chapter 20 of the insurance code.”
However, even though plaintiff could allege a claim under the MCPA pursuant to Smith, because she seeks no-fault benefits which were incurred more than one year before she filed the complaint, the Court of Appeals again held that recovery is barred by MCL 500.3145(1). In this regard, the court stated:
“Nevertheless, even though plaintiff was permitted to raise an MCPA claim under Smith, we continue to adhere to our original opinion in Grant II, supra at 605, that, ‘[b]y way of her MCPA claim, plaintiff ultimately seeks additional no-fault benefits to which she believes she is entitled.’ As we stated in Grant II, supra at 606, under the clear terms of plaintiff’s complaint, ‘plaintiff’s relief would be the no-fault benefits of which she was [allegedly] wrongfully deprived.’ All plaintiff’s losses were incurred more than one year before the filing of the complaint, and, therefore, no relief is available to plaintiff in light of MCL 500.3145(1), which clearly and ambiguously states that a claimant may not recover no-fault benefits ‘for any portion of the loss incurred more than 1 year before the date on which the action was commenced.’ Defendant was entitled to summary disposition, ‘despite plaintiff’s labeling count VI as an MCPA claim.’ Grant II, supra at 607. The trial court erred in denying defendant’s motion for summary disposition with respect to plaintiff’s MCPA claim.
We affirm with respect to the cross-appeal and reverse with respect to the primary appeal. This case is remanded for entry of judgment in favor of defendant with respect to the MCPA claim. We do not retain jurisdiction.”